Questions tagged [zoology]

Use this tag for questions involving animal biology; evolution, ecology, physiology, behavior, genetics, and marine biology.

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190 votes
4 answers
30k views

Will a mother bird abandon her young if touched by a human?

Welcome to installment #2 of my "the science of animals falling" series of questions.... I've heard it said many times since childhood that if you are to find a baby bird on the ground which appears ...
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185 votes
1 answer
21k views

Do cats always land on their feet?

Assuming a fall from a survivable height, will a cat always land on its feet? Has this been studied? Is there real data to back it up?
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164 votes
1 answer
37k views

Is it illegal to own a rabbit in Queensland unless you're a magician?

From all that is interesting How Bunny Rabbits Took Over Australia — And What The Government Is Doing About It In Queensland, Australia, it’s illegal to own a pet rabbit unless you’re a magician. ...
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160 votes
4 answers
26k views

Is bread bad for ducks?

This image has being going around (e.g. Facebook with a message attributed to The Friends of Bushy and Home Parks: Transcript: Please don't kill us with bread! Bread is actually a danger to us ducks ...
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99 votes
4 answers
59k views

Does every species get around a billion heartbeats on average?

I read this webcomic today: From: abominable.cc I have no idea where the author got his factoid about the billion heartbeats. But it sounds interesting. The examples I can think of (rabbits, humans,...
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81 votes
1 answer
8k views

Do Ostriches bury their heads in the sand

I have always believed that Ostriches when frightened bury their heads in the sand. Upon closer re-examination of this belief, I came to the following conclusions: Ostriches typically live in arid ...
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67 votes
1 answer
304k views

Do sea otters rape baby seals to death?

Popular facebook group Nature isn’t always kind and cuddly. A study showed that sea otters will restrain baby seals and then begin copulation; sometimes drowning it during the 105-minute-long ...
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65 votes
1 answer
11k views

Are raptors in Australia intentionally spreading brush fires to smoke out prey?

Articles have been popping up with headlines like the Daily Mail's "Birds of prey are starting fires DELIBERATELY: Kites and Falcons are 'intentionally dropping smouldering twigs' to smoke out mice ...
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63 votes
2 answers
25k views

Does dyeing elephant tusks help discourage poachers?

Recently, I've often seen this image claiming that some people are dying elephant tusks to prevent individuals from hunting them. Has this actually been done? Is it common? Initially, this seemed a ...
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  • 673
59 votes
4 answers
15k views

Are spiders unable to hurt humans, especially very small spiders?

In an episode of Peppa Pig, one of the characters says that spiders are very very small, and that they can’t hurt you. Broadcasters in Australia have avoided broadcasting the episode involved, ...
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59 votes
4 answers
14k views

Have we wiped out 60% of vertebrate populations since 1970?

According to The Guardian (reporting an analysis by WWF) humanity stands on the verge of an ecological catastrophe as: Humanity has wiped out 60% of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since 1970, ...
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56 votes
1 answer
15k views

Are humans the only species to have homophobes?

Here's a quote that's being passed around: Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is only found in one. Which one seems unnatural now? With all the good intentions behind what's ...
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55 votes
3 answers
66k views

Can cats survive a fall from any height?

So here's the premise. A cat reaches its terminal velocity after around 10meters of free fall. A cat can survive a landing from a speed equal to its terminal velocity. Therefore a cat can survive a ...
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52 votes
8 answers
22k views

Can trained humans run faster than all other animals on a marathon distance?

During the athletics world championship, a commentator mentioned casually during the marathon discipline that humans are faster over long distances than all animals. I'm unsure if this can be said ...
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48 votes
1 answer
8k views

Has a mole stored over a thousand earthworms in its underground larder?

On the wikipedia article for moles, I found some remarkable assertions: Because their saliva contains a toxin that can paralyze earthworms, moles are able to store their still-living prey for later ...
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48 votes
1 answer
3k views

Do mice love cheese?

It's common knowledge that mice love cheese. Do they, or is it just that they'll eat anything that's available? What's the origin of the mouse-cheese belief?
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47 votes
1 answer
240k views

Do pigs have 30 minute orgasms?

A widely circulated internet meme (see e.g. the oatmeal) states that pig orgasms can last up to 30 minutes. I've been trying to find any source or reference to back up (or refute) this claim, but ...
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45 votes
5 answers
9k views

Can venomous snakes be determined by these pupil, nostril and scale patterns?

This image was recently shared by an Australian Facebook friend: The source appears to be a Facebook post of a man from India with a staggering 380,000 shares from around the world! There are ...
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44 votes
1 answer
45k views

Do dolphins have homosexual "blowhole" sex?

In his comedy act, Ricky Gervais shows examples of homosexuality in nature, all of them from the book "Biological Exuberance, animal homosexuality and natural diversity" by Bruce Bagemihl. One of the ...
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43 votes
1 answer
8k views

Is chocolate bad for dogs?

I once had a dog that was fairly frequently given chocolate, and I never noticed any consequences. I heard somewhat recently that chocolate is bad for dogs. Is this true? Certainly, too much ...
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  • 3,563
43 votes
1 answer
6k views

Did Louis Pasteur keep a gun in the laboratory while developing the rabies vaccine?

Is it true that while developing the vaccine for rabies Louis Pasteur kept a gun in his laboratory and had instructed all his lab assistants to shoot anyone in the head who accidentally got infected ...
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  • 541
42 votes
6 answers
8k views

Can a frog be slowly boiled alive without it noticing?

It's commonly believed that a frog will not perceive a rise in temperature, and will boil alive. And, of course, if it were to be put in already-boiling water, it will immediately jump out. Any ...
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  • 3,117
38 votes
2 answers
4k views

Is Australian fauna more dangerous?

It's a popular meme, "in Australia everything tries to kill you", often backed up by the list of dangerous animals, such as box jellyfish, variety of spiders, salt water crocodiles and sharks. However ...
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37 votes
1 answer
20k views

Does a lobster feel little/no pain when boiled alive?

Image Source I have just read Cracked.com's "9 Ridiculous Cooking Myths You Probably Believe", that claims: [...] because [the lobster's] nervous system isn't very complex, so it's feeling little ...
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37 votes
2 answers
5k views

Has it ever rained fish?

There have been several reports of "raining fish" where fish fall from the sky (usually during a rain storm). An example such as this 2010 video from National Geographic seems unlikely at best. Has ...
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36 votes
2 answers
10k views

Can tortoises become deformed by growing up inside rings of plastic?

I found these images on this image aggregator, which states that the photo credit is unknown for both images. The tortoises are implied to have become deformed from growing up inside the rings of ...
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36 votes
1 answer
5k views

Do wild dogs use trains to commute to and from Moscow?

An article in The Sun describes how wild dogs near Moscow have been living in the suburbs, yet commuting daily to the city via trains. These complexes were used by homeless dogs as shelters, so the ...
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  • 9,376
36 votes
1 answer
2k views

Can cats be herded?

On the site for this year's Amazing Meeting, there's a little joke about how organizing skeptics is like herding cats It's a common belief that (possibly) due to their strong will and independent ...
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33 votes
6 answers
29k views

Do other animals have non-reproductive sex?

At about the 11:40 point in the class day 2009 lecture by Robert Sapolsky the claim is made that humans are the only species that engage in non-reproductive sex. Is there solid evidence for or against ...
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32 votes
2 answers
9k views

Did an ostrich pull off its own head?

In The Runaway Brain by Christopher Wills, the author illustrates the fact that ostriches aren't too bright by saying that an ostrich has been recorded as getting tangled in the fork of a tree, ...
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32 votes
1 answer
5k views

Are (wild) elephants afraid of mice?

Source I have heard from people working in zoos that the myth of elephants being afraid of mice is not true. Here is a short video of a zoo elephant clearly not caring about a mouse. I don't find it ...
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31 votes
2 answers
2k views

Do cats have a notable dislike of water compared to other animals?

The common knowledge goes that cats, in general, have a particular dislike of water compared to other animals. Is this true?
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  • 3,799
31 votes
2 answers
10k views

Has a human ever been eaten by an anaconda?

In an article, Yes, Forcing an Anaconda to Eat a Human on TV Is a Bad Idea, the "world’s foremost expert on anacondas", Jesús Rivas claims: "The concern is that all that these shows do is to paint ...
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30 votes
1 answer
11k views

Do Macaque monkeys steal money from wallets and use it to buy food from vending machines?

I saw this rumor on Reddit, which refers to factsanddetails.com and which doesn't indicate the information source. I saw a video of a monkey using a vending machine on College Humor, but that doesn't ...
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  • 10.1k
29 votes
1 answer
4k views

Can elephants jump?

Are elephants capable of jumping? The Internet has no clear answer: Some say yes, some say no. Examples: Dot Physics: No Elephants are one of the few animals that can't jump. Not even a little bit. ...
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29 votes
2 answers
3k views

Do headless chickens run around?

It's a clichè that is constantly repeated by the likes of Gordon Ramsey: You are running around like headless chickens! source Also, for example, they do in South Park animations Do ...
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  • 78k
29 votes
1 answer
9k views

Does the carrot on a stick method work on a mule?

Some idioms ("chase the carrot" / "carrot and stick") and a popular image (as shown below) suggest that you can make a mule move forward (and pull a cart), by placing a carrot or some other food ...
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  • 359
28 votes
1 answer
20k views

Can kangaroos walk backwards?

Source From Exploring Nature: They cannot jump backward because of their thick, muscular tail. Their long feet and heavy tail also make walking impossible, forward or backward. The ...
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28 votes
2 answers
6k views

Under the right circumstances, can lobsters live indefinitely?

I've been reading a lot about longevity and I came up with this Wikipedia article where it states that it might be possible for lobsters to live indefinitely. Recent research suggests that ...
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  • 2,510
27 votes
1 answer
10k views

Did rescue St. Bernard dogs carry barrels of brandy around their necks?

We all know this from cartoons and stuff and off course it doesn't make sense today but are there any evidence that the dogs really carried barrels of brandy? I'm not sure the Wiki is saying a ...
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  • 271
26 votes
1 answer
66k views

Do spiders intentionally wear water droplets on their heads?

I discovered today that there are a lot of pictures of spiders "wearing" water drops as hats. (More research: Warning -- Spiders!) However, I can't find anything related to why they might do this. ...
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25 votes
1 answer
19k views

Is this video of the Soviet Dog Revival Experiment real?

In this video a dog's head is brought back to life by artificially injecting blood and air. The dog's head reacted to sound and touch and used its tongue to taste. I am not skeptic about its ...
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25 votes
1 answer
28k views

Will cats eat their deceased owner, but dogs will starve to death instead?

A friend of mine is a former prosecutor for the Crown/State. He's observed that it was often harder to investigate whether a deceased person was murdered when they own cats because the cats will eat ...
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25 votes
2 answers
4k views

Do water bottles on sidewalk/corners prevent dogs/cats from peeing?

It's very common, at least in Italy, to see bottles of water near walls in sidewalk and I've been told it's because it prevents dogs and cats from peeing on the wall. Is this actually the case and why ...
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  • 581
24 votes
2 answers
13k views

Is cows' milk bad for cats?

My mother used to tell me that I shouldn't give our kitten cow milk, even if she seemed to enjoy it. Since I loved my kitten, and was quite disobedient at that time, I did it fairly often, and never ...
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  • 573
24 votes
2 answers
5k views

Can dogs smell fear?

Ever since childhood I've been told that if you encounter an unfamiliar dog, you should not show fear, because if you do, the dog is more likely to become aggressive. I have been told that this is ...
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23 votes
2 answers
3k views

Do apes/monkeys open bananas from the floral end?

I often hear people lecturing about how to open a banana from the "right" end, including an explanation that this is how monkeys do it. A quick search in the internet offers a lot of examples (for ...
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  • 333
23 votes
1 answer
1k views

Do wombats share their burrows during fires?

In the wake of the devastating bushfires currently burning in Australia, an image has been widely shared on social media: Here is one example from Twitter, retweeted 11K times: While I have an ...
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  • 133k
22 votes
1 answer
1k views

Do goldfishes have a two or three seconds memory?

It is often claimed that goldfishes have a very short memory, usually of two or three seconds. Like most claims in the real world, I have yet to see a source provided for it. So, do goldfishes have a ...
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  • 7,530
22 votes
2 answers
4k views

Do monkeys love bananas?

This one comes from my 7-year-old. So, do all monkeys go bananas for bananas? Some types of monkeys? Do all monkeys like bananas somehow? ...or is it just a cartoon convention with no basis in ...
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